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Carb Loading - What do MMA athletes and runners need to know about carbohydrates?

mikeee profile image mike jones ・5 min read

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We all agree that athletics nutritional requirements are different, runners must follow a proper diet plan that is rich in carbs for getting best of their training & racing results. Human body requires nutrients & fluids for not only performing an athletic activity but for recovering from it.

Improper nutrition & fluid imbalance can risk draining the body from vital fuels quickly. Before we get into that make sure you comfort yourself with premium quality running clothes it helps in getting most out of your runs.

Why are carbs important?

Carbs function like the gas your body necessarily needs for proper functioning. As you wouldn't head on a road trip without fueling up your car, why on this planet would you go on longer running sessions without proper fuel.

Carbs lie among the three macronutrients that our body needs- rest in protein and fat. The carb you eat gets stored as glycogen in the muscles & liver. It’s the body’s readily accessible energy form but not the only one.

Suposingly in a full marathon run your body burns both-glycogen & fat. But the fat supply of fuel isn’t very efficient, your body has to undergo an intense activity to convert it into fuel.

Carbohydrates are not only burned for supplying immediate energy, but stored in the liver & muscles in the form of glycogen. Carbs can be used as both short & long-term energy sources.

Are all Carbs equal?

We take carbs in different forms. They are labeled as “good” and “bad.” The designation difference of both can be a bit murky. Rather than thinking of them as right & wrong, consider them complex & simple. Main difference among them is the body’s process of digesting both of them.

Simple carbs are easier to digest, they contain smaller quantities of vitamins, fiber, & minerals. These types of carbs are found in sugary beverages, sweet desserts, refined grains and processed foods, etc.

Conversely, complex carbs take longer to digest, they contain lesser fibers & other nutrients that might upset your blood sugar. Types of complex carbs are whole fruit, nuts, vegetables, whole grains, seeds & beans.

Fueling yourself with carbohydrates after getting in your running clothes rocket fuels your best performance. Carbs help in replenishing the glycogen stores so the body gets to train smarter & harder.

Daily carbohydrate needs

Runners are emphasized to load their diets with carbs; it fuels their runs. Prior to running, during the run and after running it depends what’s best suited to you. But make sure you do not neglect other nutrients such as proteins & healthy fats.

Low intensity workouts use the amount of stored fat as an energy source. As the workout intensity increases from low to the moderate or high usage of fat as the fuel decreases & consumption of carbohydrates increases.

However, well-trained muscles have the ability of storing more glycogen. Fueling the endurance athlete via training & racing needs around 2.5 to 4.5g for every pound of your body weight, or 55 to 65% of the total diet from the carbs.

How to add carbs in your diet?

Breakfast:

Half cup of dry oats with a half cup of low-fat milk & water. Topped with a half cup of mixed berries & a tablespoon of the nut butter, a banana, & eight ounces of the orange juice.

Mid-morning snack:

Take Oats and Honey Bars along with four Medjool dates.

Lunch:

Take a sandwich with the two slices of the white bread, three ounces of the turkey, and an ounce of the cheese, along with the tomato slices and a half cup of boiled chickpeas. A single cup of grapes; paired with the eight ounces of the chocolate milk.

Mid noon snack:

Take half baked medium-sweet potato, with cinnamon; an ounce of the dark chocolate; & eight ounces of the coconut water (80 grams).

Dinner:

Take one and half cups of finely cooked white rice; and one and half cups of roasted butternut squash. Four ounces of the grilled chicken with side salad, paired with the 16 ounces of sports drink.

Make sure you do not forget to fuel your body with carbs right before working out. This snack is significant for athletes' recovery for accomplishing next workout goals.

Favorite ways of getting Carbs

For meeting your everyday needs it is important to incorporate carbs in your daily diet. Following are some of the athlete’s favourite ways of consuming carbs.

White potatoes and Sweet potatoes:

White potatoes & sweet potatoes both are a valuable choice that you can incorporate in your daily diet.They contain healthy carbs & packs of high quantities of potassium.

Yogurt:

Yogurt is a good snack food for fulfilling your carbohydrate needs, it provides essential protein & calcium. That ensures the good bone health of runners.

Watermelon:

This fruit is an excellent combination of hydration, carbs, & potassium – it’s amazing for any runner to be on daily biases. You can also take it in the form of juices or shakes.

Berries:

Berries contain plant compounds which help your body in a lot of different ways – they contain higher fiber content then rest of the fruits. Berries can be a valuable carb source to your diets.

Grapes:

As delicious they are, grapes are a great source of improving your running performance.

Spaghetti Squash & Zoodles:

Both are an amazing source of crabs and good for satisfying your crazy training hunger!

Whole Grains:

A lot of grains fit into this category i.e grain pasta, quinoa, barley , oatmeal, brown rice & more. They all are amazing in creating balanced & delicious meals for runners.

Yogurt and fruit:

Rejoicing with the bowl of yogurt and fruits can be a good and healthy choice.

Pb&b sandwich:

Peanut butter- great option for those travelling or training for races. Buy a jar and keep it on your room shelf. Take it on and off whenever you feel like having it.

Pasta with red sauce:

Not only healthy but serve your taste buds really well. It’s your choice. Search for a nice pasta recipe, keep it at your hands and use it on your compaction days.

It’s beneficial to load yourself with carbs before 90 mins of activity so it’s useful for training as well.

Prioritize Carbs for Recovery

Post-workout recovery fuel is meant to repair your damaged muscle tissue. It restocks your energy stores & aids physical adaptation. Right after the training session, your muscle cells become insulin sensitive that elevates your body’s ability to absorb sugar & protein.

Faster you do it, the faster your body gets green for leaning up & burning body fat. Optimal time is to do it within 30 minutes of the post running session. As the insulin sensitivity decreases your body will take it longer to absorb sugar.

Skipping the recovery snack, lowers your glycogen stores to less than 50% after the training session. Refueling isn’t essential but it is extremely beneficial if done in the right way.

Discussion (1)

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anirbularee_571 profile image
Anir Bularee

What is your take on Keto or general low carb for MMA fighters?

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